Get facts right on new system

Armley Lodge Road


I’m sorry I cannot let Scott Benton’s letter of April 15 (Your say) pass without pointing out the serious errors he has made about AV.

First, cost. The Treasury itself has stated that the cost will be minimal, certainly nowhere near the grossly inflated £250 million figure plucked out of the air by the No campaign and repeated uncritically by Mr Benton. The count will take an hour or two longer admittedly, additional cost 2% on the price of an election, £2million every five years. Not unreasonable for a system that makes MPs more accountable and gives more power to the voter.

Secondly, some people get their vote counted more than others. Not true.

It is a knockout system, a system Mr Benton should be very familiar with, since it is used to elect the leader of his own party, and was quite possibly used to select him as a parliamentary candidate.

You get one vote and one vote only, but you can stipulate alternative people you wish the vote to go to should your favoured candidate be eliminated. If I voted Green 1, Labour 2, my vote would be counted as Green vote all the way through the election process until the Greens are knocked out, whereupon my one single vote is transferred to my second preferred candidate Labour for the rest of the process.

And strong decisive government? But what good is that if only a minority of people actually voted for that government? Thatcher turned this country upside down and barely had 40% of the electorate behind her, Blair did the same with 35% of the vote.

There is a name for strong decisive government without a proper mandate from the people - dictatorship.

Mr Benton says there are better reforms that would lead to a restoration of people’s faith in government. May I suggest ensuring aspiring MPs have the wits to check up on a few basic facts and figures before putting pen to paper would be a good start?

Barry Blatt